Friday, June 24, 2016

10 Reasons why 'The Holiday' is Hot Garbage

Listen, people. I like a crap Netflix as much as the next guy. This, we know. Hell, I don't even mind a crap romantic comedy, the kind with corn pone blonde people dancing awkwardly around in it. You don't have to work too hard, and occasionally that's OK, because the world is a dark place and sometimes you need to escape. However, there's crap, and then - as is the case with 'The Holiday' - there's a dumpster stuffed with biohazardous bags of liposuctioned fat. Nobody needs to escape into that.

The movie's from 2006, which feels oddly like a really really long time ago in romantic comedy movie language, but if it were made today I'm not sure anything would be different. Maybe just more Tweeting and shit in it? Honestly, that makes it heinous for reasons which don't even touch on the other, far more critical reasons it should be killed with fire. And, since you know I love to make declarative statements like that without any real evidence aside from my own warped opinions and some memes from the internet, feel free to disagree with me, even if it means you have shitty taste in movies! Are you ready for the reasons? Here they come, bitches!

1. The gross tropey cliche of Kate Winslet as a Pathetic Single Woman (TM Movies Like This One)

Whether you like Schumer or not, girl has it right with that vase of (probably boxed) chablis.

First and foremost: the number one reason this movie is a honkin' trainwreck is because of all the tropey cliches in it. You might argue that cliches aren't really the harbingers of the apocalypse (unless you're a writer), but a landslide of them is definitely evidence of lazy writing and a clear desire to perpetuate horrible ideas about gender roles...and we sure could use a lot less of that. I mean, it's like writer/director Nancy Meyers filled an entire wall in her Pacific Palisades cliff side writer's retreat (logical assumption) with tropey cliches written on index cards and just randomly fired a dart gun at the wall in order to pack this screenplay with shit concepts. What other devoid-of-life, wrung-out-dirty-washcloth of a cliche can I toss into this stewpot of a script, Meyers wondered, as she gazed out over the ocean, drank her bottle of Veen rare water, and dug her pedicured toes into the Mongolian lambskin rug?

Let's see what all the strikes are against poor Kate, one of the protagonists in this movie. 1: only person working during company party, because...she doesn't know how to have fun? is a secondary tropey cliche of a workaholic?; 2: wears un-thrilling, non-sexy Pathetic Single Woman (known as PSW from here on out) dresses and men's pajamas; 3: attempts suicide, hilariously; 4: thanks to this script, repeatedly debases herself because the man she's in love with is a cunt; 5: is only able to make friends with old people and Jack Black because that's all PSW are allowed; 6: is the object of Jack Black's perpetual surprise that she looks at all attractive, because obviously she's meant to be a troglodyte. This conversation from the first 5 minutes of the movie pretty much sums it up:

Boss Lady: You know, I never realized how pathetic you are.
Pathetic Single Woman: Really? Oh, god. I'm SO aware of it.

Says the woman we are supposed to think of as the 'less hot one' (out of the two protagonists), based on her storyline, but who actually looks like this:

(FYI it took me like 20 minutes to choose an image of her because every single picture of her on the internet proves that she is a beautiful, compelling homo sapiens by any definition and I just couldn't decide)

Wait...attempts SUICIDE!?

You guys, I get it, she's an actor, and sometimes they're supposed to play parts where they aren't beautiful and perfect, because they have to make payments on the Rover or pay off the admissions officer at Harvard-Westlake. That's not the point. The point is: WHY CAN'T SHE ALSO BE THE HOT ONE AND DID A WOMAN THINK ANOTHER WOMAN NEEDED TO SAY THAT ABOUT HERSELF AS A FUNNY JOKE EW EW EW.

She goes through nearly the entire film sucking the metaphorical dick of the marrying-someone-else kind of cad she's in unrequited love with - giving him expensive gifts, telling him he's brilliant, READING HIS MANUSCRIPT FOR HIM (ahah this one is particularly lame) - in a rosy-glowing ode to what PSWs do for cruel, beautiful men who mistreat them. Is this so all the PSWs in the audience will nod eagerly, recognizing their own pathos? It's such revolting pandering, and so obviously crafted, that I wish I knew what kind of woman would actually think this is truth-telling so I could give her a hug AND a punt to the vagine.

What's this character's reward, after also being forced to fall in love with the 'less hot one' out of the two male leads (because the other one is her brother, and even this movie won't stoop that low) and spending the movie telling every man she meets regardless of age that he's the most amazing man she's ever met? Jack Black calling her 'sweetie,' that's what.

2. The gross tropey cliche of a shlub like Jack Black bagging amazing women and being justified in doing so because Shakespeare wrote 'love is blind' (TM Movies Like This One)

This well-worn character is a staple of cinema and is one of the lead bricks which drags stories perpetually into the abyss. I don't even want to open this rusty, maggoty can packed with worms because I'll be on the internet forever, looking for examples, when I know perfectly well you all can instantly think of your own examples and get riled up just as easily.

3. The gross tropey cliche of Jude Law as a Hot Crying Bitch (TM Movies Like This One)

This one, I love to hate. Jude Law's character could not be more perfect if he'd been written by a woman creating fan fiction romantic comedy O WAIT NEVER MIND:

Exhibit A: beautiful sensitive wears a scarf and glasses

Exhibit B: wealthy intellectual with loads of style and the same Eames leather desk chair that Cammie's character has in her house so clearly they were meant to be but who also "sews and has a cow"

Exhibit C: handily recently widowed with 2 angelic polite sweet well-adjusted pretty little girls

Exhibit D: charming man whore who just needs the right woman to appeal to his man whore side without crushing it completely

But the cherry on this ice cream sundae of Marty Stu-isms is that this character is also a Hot Crying Bitch. In the clinch, instead of turning into a jerk or James Bond or what have you, he turns into this:

Jude Law is very skilled at remaining beautiful while crying, which I bet is on his resume right next to 'Sounds posh' and 'Capable of doing Hamlet without sucking.' I mean - every straight woman loves the idea of an unobtainable man breaking down in front of her, needing her but being too afraid to tell her, right? Because real men never cry unless they've been so mesmerized by Cameron Diaz's punane that they can't go on with their lives when she leaves them to go back to her job, right? And then pretty pretty princess and twirly twirly happily ever after, right? Fuck me gently with a chainsaw!

4. The idea that everyone except the gardeners in Los Angeles is 1% and lives in mansions

I'm willing to believe that Cammie's character makes enough scratch to afford the GUEST HOUSE on the property she purportedly lives in. She cuts trailers for a living, right? probably makes, oh, let's say a half a million dollars a year? (I know, you want to die, but let's be generous about it for argument's sake and say that she is the most in-demand person in her industry) The Beverly Hills Mediterranean-style hacienda she lives in - with a beautiful pool, stylish landscaping, and Pinterest Medal of Honor interior decorating - would probably go for a conservative 8 MILLION DOLLARS OR SO.

I mean, everything in this house is cream, white, or shiny black, and made of cashmere, marble, or burnished wood and, in the way of the designer who does all of Nancy Meyers's wet dream sets, appears completely untouched. Why the hell doesn't gurl just do a staycation and actually enjoy her 8 MILLION DOLLAR mansion? Get some Pink Dot up in there, watch some Prime Suspect on her huge flatscreen, float in the pool drinking Midori straight out of the bottle? Because she's so effing rich she can't even be bothered, and it's better to spent $10,000 on a same-day ticket to Heathrow?

I hate it when Los Angeles looks like a Restoration Hardware catalog in the movies, and appears to be populated solely by fit, hip people without a discernible coke habit. Except, excuse me, for the gardeners and housekeepers. They are super happy to be leafblowing and tidying and providing the occasional wry side-eye at Cammie's mansion in their uniforms, aren't they? FUUUUUCK. Cammie, of course, has no interaction with them; it takes PSW, who is obviously able to communicate with those of a more lowly caste, to speak to them. An actual hardworking member of the film industry is more likely to live in this building:

...which is unsexy as fuck but STILL goes for like $2000 a month in rent!? I'm just sayin'.

I haven't forgotten this is a romantic comedy, where everything ends up roses because that's the formula. But that doesn't mean that we can't be presented with rich or appealing characters who live in places which actually reflect who they are, or what they want, instead of places that make the audience feel badly for being alive. Examples from romantic comedies which aren't made of the Hanta virus:


...or even:

5. The idea that everyone in England is 1% and lives in cottages

The UK parts of this movie take place in a fairytale village with cozy pubs, cozy markets, and lovely manor homes. PSW writes wedding announcements for a newspaper and yet is able to afford what might possibly be the most charming piece of (imaginary) property in the UK. I mean, even if her rich dead grandma willed her the house, she's still got to pay property taxes, right?

This fucking place is like a Thomas Kinkade painting. Here's Cammie being bored in this wonderland, which is amply stocked with comforts and decorated by woodland creatures:

I don't expect PSW to live in, like, an estate from 'Attack the Block' or anything, but come ON!?

6. Everyone in this movie is white except the gardeners

This screencap makes me want to eviscerate a kitten. I love that it looks like they're dancing some kind of classist pas de deux, with PSW all in breezy linen doing the Molly Ringwald from 'The Breakfast Club' and Gardener all in normal people clothes doing the chimney sweep dance from 'Mary Poppins' while he gazes skyward, wondering if hellfire will please rain down on this bitch so he can get an afternoon off. Christ on a cracker!?

Again, this is not Los Angeles. It's the part of Los Angeles where people who are not real live, people who perpetuate these stereotypes and create a skewed sense of the reality of the modern American city.

I mean, when the sad lonely old timey Hollywood writer guy - who's been fancied up and given a new lease on life by PSW, which is her job in this movie - gets an award at the Writer's Guild, even that goddamned audience is, like, 98% white! They didn't even try. GROAN.

7. Cute people who cheat get away with it because dumb reasons

When Cameron Diaz and her cute ex are arguing about why he fucked his receptionist, he blames her for a bunch of stuff, like being too tired to fuck HIM, being too old, and some other reasons. This cliche of pandering to working women in their early 30s is maybe even more foul than the other cliches we have to deal with in this pigwallow of a movie. Oh wah! Cute cheaty guys are so frustrating when they don't take responsibility for cheating! Cammie's gonna get even with him by throwing a shoe at him and fucking Jude Law in the next scene! I feel real bad for her, being so disrespected by this guy.

Boss Lady: You know, when you catch your guy with another woman, you're not supposed to stay friends with him. You're supposed to never talk to the prick again, not do his laundry.
Self-respecting Women the World Over: ...

We know Jack Black's Bed Bath and Beyond of a character is worth PSW's time because his cute girlfriend cheats on him (rather lazily), which makes him on the level. He's basically the PSW character's version of the Crying Hot Bitch, except Jack Black, so there's a lot of a capella "doo-de-lee-doo"-ing and eyebrow-wiggling. None of this ultimately does a single goddamned thing for furthering the plot; it's just another thing that happens in movies like this to paper-doll characters like these. Why does it have to be about cheating cute people who are just so cute we can't live without 'em? Why does that always have to be the infernal machine that drives these stupid stories?

8. Elderly people with dementia are charming and conveniently clean up well

Ugh. All these screencaps are giving me a rash.

I blame 'The Notebook' wholeheartedly for establishing this cinematic falsity. In that shitshow, Alzheimer's is a tender, heart-wrenching experience full of exquisite flashbacks to Hot Ryan Gosling athletically screwing Hot Rachel McAdams in the rain, or in a barn, or wherever, punctuated by tear-jerky moments where Dapper James Garner snuggles Elegant Gena Rowlands as she gently slips away from him. Want the real picture? Sarah Polley got close with that good, depressing film she directed, but really, dementia at any point is a bitch. It's more like Unhinged Ellen Burstyn in 'Requiem for a Dream' than anything else, actually. Realtalk: not charming. No nice clean up. Stains. Embarrassment. Depression. Fear. Anger. Shall I go on? No? Should we go back to this instead, you pussies?

It's foul that giving a shit about the elderly is a manipulative device in this movie instead of a real expression of character building. Just fucking leave it alone if, at the end, it's just going to be about corn pone blonde people dancing awkwardly around anyway. Example:



9. Everyone in this movie is straight

Please refer to point number 2 to see why I can't even with this one.

10. This movie is basically 'Love Actually' with Los Angeles instead of Wisconsin in it

And, last but not least, if you want the very best takedown of THAT movie to illustrate point number 10, just go here:

So, to review why 'The Holiday' should be killed with fire:

1. Tropey cliches perpetuating outdated, ludicrous stereotypes

That's it! That's all we need! *sound of cat retching up hairball*

Friday, November 20, 2015

Sixty-Nine, Dudes!

I had several requests for this one, and, as it is a glorious piece of cinema with unparalleled storytelling, sensational acting, and exquisite wigs, it is no chore to slap 'The Devil's Advocate' with the Danger Zone. I had my Netflix Psychic powers trained on this movie for a while, and then I forgot about it, and then it appeared on the November list, no doubt because I put so much mental juju for so long out into the troposphere that the Netflix Gods had no choice but to bless us with it. Right? Pacino sez, "RIIIIIIIIIIGHTTAAGGHGHGHGH!!!!!!!"

The director of this paragon of art is Taylor Hackford. I don't usually dwell on the directors of these shitbombs, mainly because I assume most of them made the movies because they had to pay off their coke dealer or they couldn't re-fi their island in the Bahamas, but this one is worthy of note. Taylor Hackford married Helen Mirren the year this movie came out. You guys might be familiar with Helen Mirren.

So I'm going to assume Taylor Hackford was so mesmerized by his new wife's - uh, everything - that he was walking around in a waking coma, and that's the reason 'The Devil's Advocate' is such a rodeo of insanity.

Starring Keanu's accent, Charlize's wig, and Pacino's false teef, this movie is about lawyers being the devil. INSTANT COMEDY!? THAT IS SUCH A NEW JOKE I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF IT!1!?!!! In the beginning, Weiner Dog Matarazzo (who probably wouldn't give a shit if the devil actually did show up) is on the stand in a courtroom someplace in America where people have what we call "Southern" accents. Keanu, who is what we call a "lawyer," is bored, tapping on a briefcase with his alligator boots. The camera keeps showing us the alligator boots. Is this because we're meant to infer that we are in Florida, where there are alligators? Or is it because Keanu is a shapeshifter, and turns into an alligator so he can cage-fight the devil? That would be a good movie, BTW. Weiner Dog was apparently molested by her dirtbag teacher, Andy from 'True Blood,' who Keanu is defending. Keanu sees Andy try to jerk it under the table and, rightly so, has a bad feeling about defending someone who is a child molester, or, who was in anything after season 2 of 'True Blood,' so he runs out of the courtroom to ponder his future in the bathroom. A skeezy court reporter follows him to nudge him over to the dark side. When the court reporter flushes the urinal, there's a sound like a T-Rex eating a jet plane; it's so extreme that even Keanu is startled. Is this because the reporter IS THE DEVIL!?!! (I don't really see how those things follow, but whatever) It works! Keanu is super mean to Weiner Dog and gets Andy off the hook!

You're damned right, God Warrior Slykik Lady!

Charlize's permed wig and Keanu git drunk and git down in victory over shaming a twelve year old girl in court. Because everyone is partying like degenerates, it's the perfect opportunity for a minion of Satan to show up and tempt Keanu with a fancy job up in New Yawrk Ceety. Keanu doesn't think it's a for-real thing because the minion is black. SphinctersaysWHAT! He said that because he's drunk, right? I'm guessing the writer of this movie was drunk too. Hang on, who wrote this? Tony Gilroy, who swings between awesome (Bourne) and awesome ('The Cutting Edge'). OK, makes sense.

Keanu's God Warrior mom has a bad feeling about Keanu going to New Yawrk, because it's Babylon, Babylon, something something fallen. She's got every right to be worried! Every time I go to New Yawrk I think, "You know, this place is SO much worse than Florida. I mean, Florida, that place is perfect. Nothing bad EVER happens there."

Don't do it, Keanu and Charlize's wig! DON'T DO IT!

But, they do it.

Keanu uses his dark sided wizardry to stack a jury for Satan's law firm, thus proving his lawyerness to Satan, aka Al Pacino. Pacino, whose character is very subtly named John Milton, is creepin' on Keanu while spooky music plays, so that we know he's the devil. According to dialogue, he's in Indonesia AT THE SAME TIME WOT IS DIS BLACK MAGICS. Keanu goes to Milton's law firm, where he sees whats-her-face from 'Gladiator' yelling in Italian (hot) in a red suit (hot), and subsequently gets the vapors. Don't do it, Keanu! No! There is another!

I'm getting ahead of myself. Keanu hangs out with Milton in his office, which is a hilariously designed Hitler-ish concrete bunker with a fireplace in it BECAUSE HELL. Milton smiles his fake teefs and gets Keanu to admit he doesn't hang out in the bathroom because reasons, he hangs out in the bathroom because there's a glory hole in there he uses to eavesdrop on juries.

Because Keanu's passed the evil test, Milton takes him outside to his relaxing rooftop balcony with an infinity pool on it and no railings - SURE - where Keanu stares at Milton's snazzy Saturday Night Fever high-heeled boots. WTF is the boot obsession in this movie?

Satan's minion and his snotty demon wife show Keanu and Charlize their posh new apartment. Snotty Demon is always wearing some shade of green, because she's jellis of Charlize's wig, I'm guessing. While Keanu is off lawyering, Charlize has to pick out wallpaper and drapes. The way this movie is written, it's insinuated that having to decorate her apartment is what drives Charlize insane. One might appreciate the veracity of that. Poor Charlize has to put up with Snotty Demon slagging off her decorating choices and telling her that she can spend her life working, playing, or breeding. This movie is thoughtful!

Keanu's first real evil test is to see if he can get that crying bitch who built the dildo ship in 'The Core' off on a health code violation, after he butchered a goat. Delroy Lindo plays a Bad Voodoo Priest, written thoughtfully - as we now expect - to be unlike ANY stereotype of bad voodoo priests in the movies, ever. Squatting amongst stone dildos and piles of shit in a basement? Making a voodoo doll out of a cow's tongue and some nails to silence the prosecution? Speaking with a bad French accent? Check! NO STEREOTYPES HERE! Milton uses Delroy to make sure Keanu's really who he hopes he is. (Have you figured it out yet? Or are you too distracted wondering why there is still dialogue in this movie about Keanu's boots? Because everyone is still talking about the boots, except for the brief moment when Milton talks about a chicken who plays tic-tac-toe.)

At a fancy lawyer party, where everyone stands around saying cunty evil shit, Milton politely tells Charlize her wig has got to go. I love it when movies try to disguise microaggressions in shitty dialogue! While poor Charlize - who's already stressed out enough about the fact that she's decorated her apartment with yellow walls and purple velvet couches - puts up with that crap, Keanu flirts with Gladiator lady and hangs out in Milton's Hitler-ish apartment. Charlize gets MAAAAD and ditches the wig for her real hair, which, because it's a brunette bob, must mean she's not fun anymore and is about to go crazy. Snotty Demon takes her shopping to push her over the edge, and shows her her scary demon face - YIKES!

That is some Faces of Meth shit! Are we sure we aren't still in Florida? Charlize is so wigged out (c wot i did there) that she shows us her breasteses, this being long before she became a Serious Actor. Keanu is also wigged out, and while he's sticking it to poor Charlize he's imagining that he's actually sticking it to his Gladiator colleague's fake tittays. This weirds Keanu out even more when he and his visiting God Warrior mom run into Milton, Gladiator lady, and a French hooker. Keanu creeps on Gladiator's tittays, God Warrior mom creeps on Milton, and Gladiator lady licks the French hooker like a DQ chocolate-dipped cone! Do you have a bad feeling about this yet?

Milton and Keanu hang out with more hookers - and Don King - while poor Charlize is left aaaaaall alooooone. She REALLY gets a bad feeling, and starts hallucinating some scurry business and saying shit like "It's not a dream if it's true" through snot pouring out her nose, in preparation for becoming a Serious Actor. You know who else is a Serious Actor in this movie? Craig T, Coach himself, who tells his lawyer Keanu, with melancholy gravitas, "I was boning my assistant the night my wife got shot." Nice. Keanu's case of a lifetime is to prove Coach's innocence. Keanu's also got a bad feeling about this 'cause a)Coach is a slimy murdering bastard who's probably screwing his teenage stepdaughter, b)poor Charlize is making him nuts by going naked to a church and telling him "Milton fucked me," and c)he is super conflicted about Gladiator lady's fake tittays.

Even worse: God Warrior mom, who's visiting again, tells Keanu the father he never knew was some dude in New Yawrk she - as Coach would say - boned one night. Do you know who that dude might POSSIBLY be?

This, on top of the fact that Charlize manages to slit her throat while everyone stands around watching her, REALLY stresses Keanu out. What on earth could alleviate that stress? That's right - a legendary 30 minute Milton rant about Christ knows what, followed by a nice boning session with Gladiator lady, who happens to be his sister. I TOLD you there was another!

(Do you like how I'm visually telling this story now almost solely through Star Wars outtakes and shots of Pacino with his eyes bugging out of his head?)

Milton keeps hilariously monologuing, lip-syncing to Sinatra, and reciting Latin while Keanu and Gladiator lady get it on in front of him. BUT WAIT THERE'S MOAR!?!1! Because Keanu is way smarter than anyone has ever given him credit for, he pulls a switcheroo on Milton and kills himself before actually impregnating his sister with next-gen demon spawn. YAHTZEE, motherfuckers!

This, as you might imagine, makes the Devil REALLY mad. It makes him so mad, in fact, that he transmogrifies into an insane screaming flaming naked winged digital hybrid of himself and Keanu. It kind of looks like that one time Keanu played Siddhartha, which technically means Keanu is both an incarnation of evil AND an incarnation of good.

Everything catches on fire, there's some running and screaming, and then, because this movie is, as I stated earlier, a rodeo of insanity, we are suddenly taken through a religious wormhole back to the bathroom where Keanu was pondering his future in the beginning of the movie. Wait - hang on a sec. Are you telling me this whole fucking story was basically a dream sequence and Keanu gets a do-over?


Keanu does the right thing for Weiner Dog and puts Andy away, but, as you may recall, the court reporter is also an incarnation of the Devil, because everything in this movie is telegraphed like the world's worst fixed title fight. So now we know Keanu is doomed to live perpetually in that bathroom of limbo, pondering his future like Zoolander, in a milquetoast, moralistic aping of 'Groundhog Day.'

One more, for good measure! 'The Devil's Advocate' DEFINITELY gets the Nickelback seal of approval.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Critical Analysis of the Costumes in 'Showgirls'

What in the name of all that's holy could I POSSIBLY write about 'Showgirls,' the best movie ever made about a hooker showgirl who All About Eves her way to the top in Vegas (amongst all the other movies about the exact same topic)? Well, I did a brief Google snoop, and I discovered a gaping hole (hahaahahah) in the lexicon: A Critical Analysis of the Costumes! Thank the Goddess of the Stardust that I have a recurring blawg topic about that very subject!

I would like to initially go on record as saying: Elizabeth Berkley is awesome. She writes books for girls to help them with their self-esteem, she has a sense of humor about herself, she has heterochromia which automatically makes her cool and, at 43, she looks amazing. Back in the day she was clearly trying to bust free from the 'Saved By the Bell' millstone around her neck, and fell prey to that old Hollywood siren song of "Hey honey, why don't you sit on this couch here right next to me, and if you let me finger-bang you I'll put you in my majah motion pictchah and make you a STAH." Yikes. I lay ALL blame of this movie on creepy impresario Paul Verhoven and revolting scribe Joe Eszterhas.

There isn't a whole lotta subtext going on with the costuming here - it's mostly a straight-up time capsule of mid-90s style and sheer unadulterated soft-core trash. I guess I could argue that the heavy use of animal prints means, uh, that everyone is, er, animalistic? Sure. The hair and makeup is also a critical factor in the overall, shall we say, design ethos. Now, all that doesn't mean a bunch of people didn't work really hard sewing rhinestones and shit onto pleather; it just means they probably did it while rolling their eyes a little. Ellen Mirojnick was the costume designer; girlfriend is the genius behind this classic:

YAAAS! Respeck.

In the opening of the film, Nomi Malone is dressed for business, the business being hitching her way to Vegas. Late-1980s fringed black leather jacket with silver conchos, stonewashed jeans circa 1995, black cowboy boots, and a floral collared shirt to show she's not such a bad girl (even though the tenor of the costume design is set here, because it's open and knotted Daisy Duke style, just like the tenor of the makeup design is also set here: heavy eye, insanely overdrawn MAC Stone cholita lipliner [brown lips were SO IN]). Simple jewelry, fake pink nails, handy switchblade. I would call this look Hemet Biker Chic.

Let's get a closeup of that lipliner, shall we?

I mean...somebody told her to lick her lips like that. And she did it. Sigh.

A dude clearly marked JOHN propositions her - pinky ring, shiny grey suit, lots of chains - and she gets mad, prompting this guy - the hero's journey Herald, really - to shout prophetically, "Sooner or later, you're gonna have to sell it!" This ultimately drives her into the arms of the Pathetic Sidekick, who is always carefully dressed for the role. When we first meet her, she's wearing an un-sexy high-necked black t-shirt tucked into stonewashed jeans (YES), and a gloriously hideous patchworked jean jacket which telegraphs in an instant to us that she Wants To Be A Fashion Designer. Everything about her screams 'Reliable Doormat!' Which is now her official new name.

Six weeks later and Nomi and Doormat are happily co-habitating in Doormat's trailer. As Doormat strips casually down to a rad black 90s thong-and-demi bra combo - she's hot, but we're not supposed to think she's as hot as Nomi - Nomi, in a cut-up fake Harley t-shirt and coochie cutters, does her nails. Close up on the harlequin nails:

They've gotten more aggressively trashy and drag-gy (is that a word?), because Nomi has assimilated, Borg-like, into the Vegas lifestyle, and that means crazy nails. But dayum, girl did those all by herself? She's an artiste! Why doesn't she open a salon, for crying out loud! But no, Nomi has a dream, and that dream does not involve potentially profiting off of a marketable business in a bull market. IT INVOLVES TITTAYS!! (which, incidentally, is also a marketable business, so I should shut my hole) Doormat gets Nomi to come to work with her - she's the costumer on a topless show - and tells Nomi to "wear that dress I made last week:"

...which turns out to be a modern classic on the order of this gown:

...or this gown:

I mean...I feel like I'm already in over my head. There are SO MANY EXQUISITE COSTUMES in this movie! Deep breath, deep breath.

Now we're backstage at 'Goddess,' heretofore after referred to as THE SHOW (as in 'on with the,' which is actually a fucking line of dialogue in this movie), absolutely swimming in sequins. The dance captain runs around hollering in a purple crushed velvet mock turtleneck leotard, a black vest and black high-waisted leggings GHGHGHGGG while everyone else puts on their stage costumes:  janky wigs, rectangles of gold lame strategically draped over parts, and crushed organza button-down shirts. Doormat's fixing a costume on the fly, and we know She Means Bizniz because she's wearing goddamned floral rayon overalls and a pair of Lisa Loeb granny glasses on a chain around her neck. You know who else Means Bizniz? Cristal Connors, that's who, the fucking STAH of THE SHOW:

Now, you might argue, "That ain't a costume! It's just a thong and tittays!" Well, you would be uneducated in the art of costuming, then. That thong is completely encrusted in embroidery and crystals! Those tittays have little stick-on crystals on them! I feel badly for you, that you don't think this is a costume. Her postgame robe, virginal white as a nun's wimple, is pretty awesome too:

The dude photobombing the shot seems stunned by this magnificence as well. So much maribou! So much Swarovski, from her eyelids to her hair to the applique randomly applied to the middle of her cheek! Werk, gurl.

Here we also meet entertainment director Zack, who, probably not coincidentally, wears a wide-shouldered suit and sports the side bangs like another famous 90s Zack:

I ruined it for you, right? I'm a ruiner. After some tomfoolery where Nomi gets rowdy in the club, kicks a dude in the junk, and ends up in jail for the night, we move on to the goods: Nomi's workplace, Cheetah's (aka Cheetah's, which of course is a real club in Vegas). Cheetah's is populated solely by strippers with Hearts of Gold (TM The 80s): Might-be-pregnant Stripper, Down-home Stripper, Innocent Stripper, Mother Hen Stripper, etc etc. The only strippers missing from this all-star lineup are He'll Call Stripper and Ice Castles Stripper!? They are all ruled by an Evil Pimp, played deliciously by actor and jazz singer Robert Davi, who wears a leopard-print waistcoat and the same jacket Nomi was wearing in the first shot of the movie, probably because it looks kind of slutty no matter who's wearing it.

The Innocent Stripper - who, incidentally, got her own sequel, the unfortunately-named 'Penny's From Heaven' - looks like she borrowed something from the Doc in 'Road House,' who is the Queen of Unaware-of-her-Sexuality costumes! A denim vest and a blue-and-white candy-striped A-line? Christ, all Tuesday. The other strippers are all on their costume game: purple crushed velvet ruched cocktail dress with a honking mechanism that exposes the tittays, black-and-purple satin robe with a real ball python, black string bikini with pink fringe and pink fringed opera gloves. By comparison, Nomi's costume is kind of meh:

At least she's found time to change her nails: tiger stripes, excellent.

So Zack and Cristal show up. He's wearing sunglasses, a sparkly black blazer and a black mock turtleneck like a douchey undercover cop, and Cristal, for lack of a better description, is wearing a 90s version of this:

Is this because we're meant to think she's some kind of stripping robot like Zhora from 'Blade Runner,' bent on dominating Nomi? YES IT IS! And Nomi knows it, because when she comes out to do her dance, she does this to subliminally tell Robot Cristal that she LOOOOOOVES metal:

I like that through all of Nomi's adventures she seems to be wearing a lucky St. Christopher medal on a bead chain. Dedication to her faith! Good thing Cristal's wearing HER lucky diamond horseshoe ring (and a coke ring! So 70s), because she gets to watch Nomi grind one out on her boyfriend.

Well, Nomi feels crappy about that, so Doormat offers to take her shopping after fashion design class. They are wearing a solid 90s power pack: hat, orange wraparound top with belted, shredded jeans and engineer boots; purple workout top over hot pink bra, coochie cutters and those black cowboy boots. They might as well be skipping while a Sophie B. Hawkins song plays on the soundtrack. O WAIT THEY ARE SKIPPING. The girls skip right over to the Forum for the now-classic 'Pretty Woman' (not really, but it's the best I can do) scene at Versace, where Nomi buys the boringest off-the-rack dress in the store:

Everyone loves to fixate on the whole 'Versayse' line later, but I prefer to puzzle over why she would want THIS dress. It's basically a boxy, tight minidress with hideous Versace gold buttons all over it like a tufted ottoman. Is it because it's meant to show how classy she is, on the inside? Because, sorry, girl, but this is not a classy dress. This is a classy dress:

I'm glad Nomi got herself that dress in preparation for the big time, coz girlfriend has an audition at THE SHOW. When she comes on stage, though, she realizes she's outclassed by all the other dancers who showed up in WAY better dancewear than her dreary jazz pants and red wraparound top. We've got gold gladiatrix bikinis, pink lame hot pants, and black sheer corsets; Nomi can't compete! So what does our resourceful Pollyanna do? Girl whips off the pants and top and jams on some more makeup in the world's quickest costume change because She Means Bizniz! When Cristal shows up - in a gunmetal-grey metallic outfit with a concho hip belt (remember, SHE IS A ROBOT) (also, I had one of those belts and loved it, can someone bring those back?), the outraged dancers have to take off their tops. THE SHOW is topless, after all, and they seem to have forgotten that they aren't auditioning for the Bolshoi. Cristal loves this. Nomi, who, in a previous scene, was basically scissoring with the Innocent Stripper on-stage, doesn't. She's so upset that she needs the dude she kicked in the junk earlier (who's become her buddy) to cheer her up, which, in this movie, means she gives him a lapdance!

I like that, in this scene, all the frippery of the showgirl costumes has been exchanged for Real Dance Wear (TM this movie) because they are doing some Real Choreography: jazz shoes, old-school black dance pants with effin' suspenders, black flared jazz pants, and that red wrap top like Real Dancers wear to rehearse in. Eat it, Ailey! Despite the fact that I'm fairly sure Real Dancers don't stick their fingers in other Real Dancers while they're dancing to see if they're on their periods, I still believe these two are good at what they do because jazz shoes. The costumes tell me so!

Back at the trailer park, Doormat - in a fucking purple tie-dyed outfit - is sewing some leopard print fabric some old how (I'm going to use my clinical powers of deduction to state for the record that this is foreshadowing, as the outfit Animal Nomi wears later to revenge Doormat's rape is leopard print) when she gets to deliver the news to Nomi that she's going to be in THE SHOW. Nomi tells her pimp boss - suitably garbed in a predatory tiger print shirt - that's she's never coming back to Cheetah's. This saddens the Mother Hen Stripper, who plaintively observes, "Goddammit! You're the only one who gets my tits poppin' right." It always comes down to the costumes, doesn't it?

Nomi's moving on up. Garbed in her TJ Maxx-looking Versace, she goes to meet her new bosses, one of whom is wearing a green mock turtleneck and a fucking cardigan, perhaps because he was late to get fitted that day and this was his punishment. The dance captain, Gaye - she of the infamous "I chipped my tooth on a Quaalude" line - is looking like She Means Bizniz in a striped leotard and a vest. She gets even more Down to Bizniz later, in all black, when Nomi shows up to rehearsal in a violently purple low-cut wrap top, shiny turquoise leggings and gold ballroom heels.


Nomi storms around on stage for her first performance like an enraged giraffe in her janky wig and gold lame. She's GOT this. Doormat is so proud of her! She's made it to the big time, so she doesn't need Real Dancing, or any of that shit from the past. In fact, she's ready for a little one-on-one with Cristal, who shows up the next day (or whenever) to "work on her turns with her." Is THAT what they call it? Cristal is wearing her best costume yet: black felt cowgirl hat with a silver hatband, champagne organza lame shirt open over a black bra (yes), crazy studded drop-sleeved cropped leather jacket, that concho belt over dance pants and, I believe, black cowboy boots.

And her coke ring. Sorry, I forgot about her coke ring. It's great for the muscles, even though, if you're a ROBOT, you don't have muscles.

During lunch at the Forum, Cristal admires Nomi's tittays - in a protracted conversation which sounds kind of like a transcript from a cut-rate phone sex line - which are displayed as usual in that elegant combo of pink wrap top and fuschia bra. This outfit provides Cristal the opportunity to yank the top off of Nomi's shoulder so she can give her a tittay-squeeze while they're supposed to be "working on her turns." Because this makes Nomi feel like a hooker, rather than a stripper, it sets up a cinematographic segue into a scene where Nomi gets prostituted out to some businessmen. Audrey Hepburn only WISHED she'd worn the hooker version of the famous Paco Rabanne link dress, accessorized with a silver lame trench coat, while dancing on a boat!

Next up is THE SHOW's first revenge moment, when Evil Meter-Reader Fucker Dancer takes out Nasty Pizza Delivery Fucker Dancer by throwing some beads on stage so her partner slips and drops her. The costumes here are some kind of bewildering Britney Spears-ish 'Toxic' bodysuit worn with sequined circle skirts, while Cristal wears a nice churchy bridal veil. I'm getting a real dreamy vibe, a la:

It's time for Nomi to take action. In order to backstab properly, she has to dress the part, so she's wearing an innocent 90s floral slip dress and black cowboy boots, staple of many a Delia's catalog. She has a brief, meaningful interlude with her former boss, who, while wearing a sharp double-breasted with a tiger striped tie, muses, "It must be hard not having anyone come on you." Oh, just you wait! It's on to Zack's place, where she immediately loses the outfit and participates vigorously in one of the most infamous sex scenes ever. This, of course, lands her an audition to be Cristal's understudy, pissing everyone off: Quaalude Gaye, sporting a studded vest; Evil Meter-Reader Fucker Dancer, in a white t-shirt and black sleeveless romper; and Robot Cristal herself, wearing this:

You're right! You ARE too old for that whorey look!

Nomi goes to visit Real Dancer to see his own choreographed piece, in her last introspective scene (stop laughing, pay attention) before Shit Gets Real. I'm going to show you what this looked like in the filmmaker's minds, instead of what it actually looked like:


When Nomi gets sidelined by Cristal's machinations, they duke it out during THE SHOW's metaphoric rapey master/slave scene. Calling back to Nomi's Hemet Biker Chic style, everyone's in budget black vinyl dominatrix costumes, thigh-highs, and black bobbed wigs, while Cristal's accessorized with more Swarovskis glued on her tittays.

Nomi gets SO MAD that she All About Eves by pushing Cristal down the stairs. Evil Meter-Reader Fucker Dancer's got Nomi's back - bitches gotta cover one another - so everyone except Doormat believes Nomi didn't do it. It's Nomi's time to shine, motherfuckers!

She does this in the most incomprehensible costume in the whole movie, a blue lame mini with a cropped jacket:

That, my friends, might be the most wretched photo I've ever put on this blawg. Or, this one might be:

How does she not topple over from the weight of those false eyelashes and the mantle of foundation she's got on!? So Nomi sets Doormat up with her dream boo, famous rock star and rapist Andrew Carver. We know he's famous because he shops at Johnny Depp R Us:

After poor Doormat gets gang raped in the movie's umpteenth Not Necessary scene, Nomi's chickens come home to roost when Zack calls her out for being a whore. She's got nuthin to lose, right? IT'S TIME FOR ANIMAL NOMI TO BE LET OUT OF THE CAGE! Begin revenge montage, no description necessary:

After Nomi and Cristal slurp each other's lipstick off in their tender farewell scene, Nomi ghosts outta town, donning Cristal's signature black felt cowgirl hat and champagne lame. A girl hitching on the 15 with her shirt open that far can only be going one place: Los Angeles!

The fact that Elizabeth Berkley doesn't jerk awake sweating and screaming every night of her life from this is testament to her fortitude. I award the costumes (and hair/makeup) of this landmark the following: